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Top Ten
Top Ten

Chandra's Top Ten
Scientific Discoveries

In ten years of operation, Chandra has had a widespread, transformative impact on 21st century astrophysics.
Discover Chandra's most significant discoveries:
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The Extraordinary Universe with Chandra

In Florence, Italy, in the year 1609, the world changed. Using a small telescope, Galileo proved that the Earth is not distinct from the universe, but part of it. And he showed that there is much more to the universe than we see with the naked eye.

Est enim GALAXIA nihil aliud, quam innumerarum Stellarum coacervatim consitarum congeries.

In the twentieth century, astronomers made another revolutionary discovery – that optical telescopes reveal only a portion of the universe. Telescopes sensitive to invisible wavelengths of light have detected microwave radiation from the Big Bang, infrared radiation from proto-planetary disks around stars, and X-rays from explosions produced by black holes. On July 23rd, 1999, the most powerful X-ray telescope ever made began its exploration of the hot universe. Chandra, exploring your universe.


Credit: NASA/CXC
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Since 1999, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has transformed our view of the high-energy universe with its ability to make exquisite X-ray images of star clusters, supernova remnants, galactic eruptions, and collisions between clusters of galaxies. Chandra has probed the geometry of space-time around black holes, traced the dispersal of calcium and other elements by supernovas, and revealed that whirling neutron stars only twelve miles in diameter can generate streams of high-energy particles that extend for light years. Chandra has found cosmic generators millions of times more powerful than neutron stars - rapidly spinning, supergiant black holes in the centers of galaxies. There, energy from the rotation of the black hole and surrounding gas is converted into powerful jets and winds that can influence the destiny of an entire galaxy. On an even greater scale, Chandra has helped to confirm that galaxies and the universe are dominated by other forms of darkness, called dark matter and dark energy. In the distant past, dark matter pulled material together to form galaxies and galaxy clusters, but now, it appears that dark energy, which may be a much different phenomenon, has stopped the process and is causing the universe to expand at an ever-increasing rate. The nature of dark matter and dark energy is still a deep mystery. As Chandra expands the realm of the known, it continues to raise new questions and point the way for future exploration.

Chandra Blog

Cool Stories From The Hot Universe
Submitted by chandra on
Tue, 07/20/2009 - 13:21.

The Chandra EPO group has put together the following list of cool Chandra stories, realizing that if too many people agree that they're cool, they may cease to be cool. The list is not in any order of priority because we suspect that would be uncool.

Dark Energy

Dark Energy Found Stifling Growth in Universe Most of the energy in the universe is in some form that no one understands.


PSR B1509-58

PSR B1509-58: A Young Pulsar Shows its Hand The "hand of God" stuff about this image probably got out of hand, but the idea that a 12-mile -diameter neutron star produces a nebula 150 light years in diameter definitely makes you wonder.


Crab Nebula

Crab Nebula: Fingers, Loops and Bays in The Crab Nebula Those rings in the center, and the jet are thought to be produced by electrons and antimatter electrons – real antimatter, not Angels and Demons fantasy.


Chandra Chronicles

Cool Stories From The Hot Universe
By Wallace Tucker

While in the process of pulling together a list of the top ten Chandra science stories, colleague P.Edmonds suggested that we also put together a list of Chandra’s coolest news stories.

Deep Impact – Chandra Top Ten (Plus One) in Ten
By Wallace Tucker

In its first decade of exploration, Chandra has expanded our view of the universe with its unrivaled abililty to create high-resolution X-ray images of cosmic phenomena.

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